Planning a trip to Flagstaff? Our experienced travel editors break down the town so you can make the most of your stay. Let these itineraries be your guide, whether you're here for a weekend or a whole week.
1 Start off exploring the shops around downtown Flagstaff and whatever entertainment might be at Heritage Square.
2 Head to the Museum of Northern Arizona to learn about the area’s geological past as well as many of the Native American cultures that enrich the area. This is a good first-day activity because you’ll see many of the things you learn about the rest of the week as you explore the area.
3 Dine casual at Beaver Street Brewery. Enjoy a locally made beer and some of the best burgers and salads in town.
4 Head to Lowell Observatory for sky watching. If you get there before dark, check out the museum portion and catch a historical tour of the place, as well.
1 Drive to Williams (about 40 minutes) to catch a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway to see the world’s most-talked-about canyon.
2 On the train, relax as you plan what you want to see at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Guides on board will be able to make suggestions if you need some. You’ll have a few hours to spend at the canyon before the train heads back to Williams. Grab lunch at Bright Angel Restaurant right on the rim, or just get a cone from the ice cream shop also on the rim. Best spot to eat the cone as you sit in the shade and enjoy the views is on the nearby swings hanging from the porches of the El Tovar hotel.
3 Hop aboard the train for your journey back to Williams where you’ll experience an Old West “train robbery,” so stay on your toes.
4 Walk around Williams’ Main Street for a little Route 66 nostalgia and souvenir shopping. But skip dinner in Williams—there are much better choices and values to be had in Flagstaff.
5 Drive back to Flagstaff for an easy pizza dinner from Fratelli or instead enjoy some margaritas and fish tacos at Criollo.
1 Get up early and head about 30 minutes southeast of town to Mormon Lake for a big cowboy pancake breakfast at the Mormon Lake Lodge.
2 Then go for a horseback ride or rent ATVs or mountain bikes, and go exploring. If you don’t go for a full day’s horseback ride or ATV rental, in the afternoon rent a canoe and drive a few minutes back to Upper Lake Mary and set sail. Make reservations in advance for horseback rides and rentals. The Lodge also offers free environmental education programs on Saturdays in the summer, including guided nature hikes.
3 Grab a light snack from the Lodge’s country store and stop at a picnic table at Upper Lake Mary to eat. Enjoy the lake breeze and picturesque scenery if you didn’t already enjoy it on a canoe.
4 Head back to town to enjoy an Italian dinner at Pasto downtown.
5 After dinner, grab a drink and play pool at Uptown Billiards, or play board games and delight on fine wines at the Wine Loft.
1 Drive to Meteor Crater about a half-hour east of town. Go early when it is cooler because temps are about 10 degrees higher than in Flagstaff. Be sure to take a guided tour.
2 Back to town for lunch at the acclaimed Salsa Brava. Try the lunch special No. 3—carnitas and an enchilada, or if you want a tasty bargain, try the small family-run Las Gorditas.
3 Head up the mountain for a hike, disc golf and/or a ride aboard the Scenic Skyride at the Arizona Snowbowl with the best views of Arizona’s high country.
4 Clean up for a long, relaxing dinner at Flagstaff’s finest: the Cottage Place.
1 Today is for inner balance seeking in the Red Rocks. Drive down Oak Creek Canyon toward Sedona. Stop at the scenic overlook before heading down the switchbacks.
2 Once in the canyon, you can go for a swim at one of the swimming holes or Slide Rock State Park, though the river can be cold or down to just a trickle and puddle at times. Or hike a trail. You need to have a Red Rocks pass to park on the roadside if you’re going to leave your car for more than 15 minutes.
3 Or just enjoy the scenic drive and take a Pink Jeep tour of the red rock area. You can catch these at the north end of Sedona. Do make a reservation.
4 Then head into Sedona for lunch and walk around the art galleries and shops of Tlaquepaque. You can ride Sedona’s free Roadrunner shuttle to explore all of the area’s shopping and premiere art galleries.
5 Be sure to stop, sit and reflect at one of the area’s famed energy vortexes, thought to provide relaxation or spiritual powers by some. Most involve some hiking, the shortest of which is on Airport Mesa about halfway up Airport Road on the left. If nothing else, you can get some great photos of the area from up there.
1Head to the western outskirts of town to The Arboretum at Flagstaff. You can go on a guided nature hike and learn about plants and animals that are native to the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest in which Flagstaff sits. Then catch the birds of prey demonstration and head back downtown.
2 Grab a late lunch at Tinderbox Kitchen. The blue-plate specials are served Tuesday through Saturday 11AM-2PM. Tinderbox offers one of the best deals around with a gourmet entrée, sides, drink (beer, soda, tea) and a dessert of donut holes all for $10.
3 Make an afternoon appointment to tour the Riordan Mansion to learn about Flagstaff’s past. Be sure to book your tour ahead of time because they can fill up and are a must.
5 Then for evening entertainment, catch a concert or movie at The Orpheum or Heritage Square and/or go country dancing at the Museum Club.
1 Spend the morning exploring the other side of the mountain at Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. Allow at least three hours for this excursion, including travel time between the monuments and some light exploring.